Quarantine Talks: Let’s be honest: Being home and the reality of living away.

It’s probably obvious that because of the pandemic I have had to leave university early and come back home. But do I like being here? Or would I rather be there?

The short answer to my title is yes. I am a total homebird. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love university, I love the independence and the responsibility of being able to choose what to do and when to do it. I’m an adult so it’s not to say that I don’t get a lot of freedom at home, because obviously I do, but it’s different at university. I can only speak for myself but when I’m at home, I wouldn’t get up at 3am and go for a walk with my friends – not because I’m not allowed, but it would be weird, for me. At uni, me and my flatmates did that plenty of times, not alone of course, that’s too far for me. But certainly with my friends I would, and it wouldn’t be weird. At university, I choose to eat what I want, when I want, regardless of what anyone in my flat is doing. I choose when I shower and how long for (en-suite benefits), I choose when I want to shop and what I want to shop for, I get to buy what I want to buy. In essence, I do what I want, when I want without it affecting anybody. And that’s exactly why I prefer being at home.

I love the hustle and bustle of family life, I love cooking for my family, I love sitting around the table, laughing and making jokes. I eventually love the sound of someone running to the bathroom even when I’d planned to go in, I love hearing my mum scream “DEL DEL WHERE ARE YOU!” even if it’s just to ask what chores I’ve done today. I love the silly and sometimes annoying altercations with my little siblings. I love hearing my big brother blasting out his music out full volume from his bedroom. I love hearing the deafening sound of my dad sneezing and snoring on the couch ever so often. Now most of these things may seem strange to love, but what I didn’t understand when I left to university is that I wouldn’t have these things anymore. You just don’t have it. The things that maybe you would have seen as being inconvienient at the time, end up being the things you miss. And I miss them when I’m away.

So yes, I do miss being at home when I’m at uni perhaps more so than I miss uni when I’m at home. And I’m glad I’m home for the time being.

Uni students – do you prefer home or uni?

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Why I chose to study English Literature?

Between year 10 and 12, I was set on studying psychology at university. My original goal was to be a psychologist but about three weeks before sending off my personal statement my plans changed. I had already half written of my psychology personal statement and it occured to me that I wasn’t actually that interested in studying psychology for the long term anymore. After my first year of studying English literature at A-level and working in a tutoring company for a year, I developed an interest in both writing argumentative essays and also in teaching. I spoke to a lot of people who were primary school teachers and they said English would be a great, core subject to do at university if I wanted to go into teaching.

So I changed my personal statement (which was A LOT easier to write) and applied to study English rather than psychology. It was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made. I probably would have got through studying Psychology – relucantly – or maybe I would have enjoyed it. But I’m glad I chose English! It can be long and stressful sometimes with endless novels, plays and poetry to read and also critical interpretations to look through but I do not regret my choice one bit!

When coming to university it’s important to pick what you love! You don’t want to be stuck doing a subject you don’t genuinely enjoy or have a strong interest in! Your career will work itself out!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What am I planning to do next?

Hey guys, bit of a quick one today. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can expand my platform to reach and reflect more people. Not only this but I do a lot more than writing and it’s quite difficult to cover everything I do simply through my writing.

Expect to see:

IGTV videos on my Instagram (I’ll publish them on here too)

Recipes (I love to cook)

And….. Music covers of my favourite songs – this one might take a bit longer. I’m currently re-learning the guitar and would love to show you all what I’ve been up too.

Hope you’re all doing okay.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Greatest Day in History

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Matthew 28:5‭-‬6

Happy Easter you lovely people!!! Resurrection Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for what Jesus did for me on the cross – he defeated sin and rose up up from the grave so that I can live in freedom. Tens of thousands of Christians across the UK and millions of Christians around the world use this day to remember what Jesus has done for them, not only in their personal lives but for the whole entire world!

I will never be ashamed of the gospel and I will never be ashamed to declare my faith both here, on my blog, and in my daily life. My blog, of course is not merely faith based posts, I post a bit of everything, from education to relationships to lifestyle but my faith is very central in my life and I would believe I would be hiding a huge, crucial part of myself if I did not share it.

Whatever you’re doing today or however you’re choosing to celebrate this bank holiday weekend I hope you are all keeping safe and staying happy – even in quarantine!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A New Found Fitness?!?!

During university, I put on a load of weight. Beforehand I wasn’t necessarily a gym fanatic but I certainly did a lot more than I did once I begun my new chapter at uni. It got to the point that I hate looking at the group pictures I took on my 19th birthday. My diet changed, obviously cooking for myself and only myself I naturally ate more and without having anyone to stop me I ordered a lot more takeaways.

This affected me a lot because I have always been an active person. I danced for many years both at school and at an academy. From the age of 8 until about 14, I participated in both football and athletics competing at a borough level on school teams. I took GCSE PE in year 9 and completed it in year 10 so that was two years of intense gym and various training in various sports. Even after that was over I continued dancing until year 13. I was always quite healthy and I never really had body confidence issues regarding my weight.

After seeing the pictures on my birthday I was absolutely horrified but still didn’t feel motivated enough to anything about it. I wasn’t incredibly or overtly massive but because of how fit and active I was used to being, it was hard to look at myself and not be happy with what I saw. I spent weeks being upset about it, comparing myself to all the beautiful people around me and even shutting off opportunities of talking to people and going to social events at university because it begun to affect me mentally. One day, before I came home I decided it was time to change and I started working out in my room a couple times a week.

Coming home from university has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve established a workout routine using videos from YouTube and go on runs (only once a day maximum and maintaining social distancing) on some days. Check out Rebecca Louise’s fitness videos btw! I’m eating healthier, drinking lots of water and I’m beginning to feel stronger and a lot happier mentally.

Some people want to gain weight, and some want to lose it. Some people are bigger than me and are happy and some are smaller than me and are happy. What’s important is that you’re healthy and that you are confident in your body and how you look and more importantly how you feel. It’s a journey for me. I love working out now. I love the sensation in my muscles the next day. I love seeing the progress! You’re all beautiful the way you are but sometimes a few lifestyle changes can have you feeling that little bit more amazing!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

When the start stops

In the midst of a pandemic I’m going to write. The last two weeks have been hectic. My first year of university finishing prematurely, coming back home two weeks before easter, online studying and to top it all off, being on lockdown for at least three weeks.

I’m not going to tell you the logistics of the virus or the main points of Boris Johnson’s new orders to the public because I’m sure you’ve heard all of this. I’m not even going to tell you to stop stock piling! But what I am going to tell you is what you can do in this time of a worldwide crisis.

We’re indoors. For a long time. There’s so much you can’t do, but there’s so much you can do. For writers like me, we have no excuse not to write – I’ve been putting off blogging for two weeks because of deadlines and the changes to life because of the virus. But I can’t let these circumstances become excuses for not fulfilling what I want to fulfill. Use this time to read more, make a life plan, learn something, watch something inspiring. Although this isn’t an ideal situation and EVERYONE’S lives have been flipped upside-down – some worse than others, we can really make something positive out of it. It’s so tempting to binge watch series on Netflix all day (personal dig) but I definitely don’t want to look back after we’re all free again having done absolutely nothing.

Let’s do something great with a not so great situation.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What do you want?

In a world that tells us what to be, what to like and what to do, how often do you you consider and actually do what you want to do? Not what social media tells you do, not what culture tells you to, not what your family and friends tells you to do.

For me, not very often. I feel like I make a lot of the choices I make curtesy of someone or something else. Maybe you don’t have that problem and maybe you do. I’ve been struggling with this a lot for the last couple of weeks and it’s got me into quite a negative state. Sometimes I just want to wake up in the morning and embrace what I want to embrace simply because I want to embrace it. And it’s not that I physically can’t. Because I can. But I don’t.

I am in the process of transforming into an independent and confident young woman and I believe that overcoming this fear of standing out is all a part of the process. And I will get there.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Sometimes it’s too much….

I think sometimes the subjects that are the hardest to talk about are the most important.

Obviously I took a week off writing this week. I got really ill, with a stomach bug and was bound to the bed until Thursday. Getting up to my laptop to write a blog was just not an option. So I didn’t.

I have battled with stress, overthinking and anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s not something that I let define me but it takes up a lot of my day.

The thought of not writing made me anxious. The thought of not writing when incredibly sick made me anxious. That’s not normal. It may have prolonged my recovery period because I couldn’t rest properly. I felt like I was failing and that I would never be successful. I missed a whole week of lectures. 101 bad thoughts ran through my mind. And I couldn’t stop them.

So I faced my biggest fear. And stopped. Completely. Stopped worrying about missing lectures, stopped worrying about blogging and about all the other things going on. I’ve just put it all out of my mind. This is an ongoing battle and I’m only a growing human.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Redefining Feminism

As you may know, I study English Literature. One of the modules on my course involve looking at different readings of Literature. One of them is Feminism. What does Feminism mean to you?

There have been mutilple waves of Feminism and we are currently in the fourth wave; the present. what Feminism meant in the 19th and 20th century has drastically evolved and has become redefined. Everyone has a different views and opinions regarding the topic. Some are positive, inspiring and thought crippling. Others…. are not.

Feminism from the start has been about equality. Giving women equal opportunities to men. It’s not about hating or putting men down, men are awesome too! I love being a women in the 21st century. I am confident that I can do everything that I set to achieve. I believe that I am as strong, as intelligent and as capable as my male counterparts. However, in some aspects of life women are still made to feel inferior.

Feminism to me means freedom of choice. If I want to go out to work 5 days a week when I am married with kids I will do that. If I want to stay and look after my home and children 5 days a week, guess what, I will! I feel that some people defining themselves as feminists can make other women feel like less becuase they choose a maybe more “traditional” role in life. Likewise for stay-at-home dads. Is this a gender issue or an employment issue?

This is toxic and defeats the whole point of allowing women (and men) to think and act for themselves. My mother is the strongest woman that I know and I am so blessed to have been raised by her. She spent her years working until she had my 3 siblings and I. She took years off work until we were old enough to look after ourselves after school and even when she went back to work she was still there for us after school! Many modern “feminists” may have seen my mothers decision as going against the fight and sneered and judged her for it, but it was her choice. And I’m glad she made it herself.

I can only talk about my own experiences. Not everyone has another adult figure in the household with a stable income and so have to go to work. Some work from home. Some go out to work and look after their kids. Some hire a babysitter so they can work a stable job. Some people don’t have kids. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, all that matters is everyone is valued for what they do and not looked down on for making the choice that suits their own lifestyle.

Perhaps feminism nowadays should be about equality amongst women’s choices as well as equality in comparison to men. No one is less or greater than the next. Let’s live to collaborate and not to divide.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Change of Plan

I’m so glad that I enjoy writing on the spot. Today took an unexpected turn. I planned a blog to write on “Redefining Feminism”, I scheduled it to be written, finalised and publish by 10pm tonight and as you’ve probably noticed – it hasn’t happened.

My day just went differently, and although I could be writing something engaging and meaningful about how there have been multiple waves of feminism which have all been a refinement on the last, I am instead writing about why that hasn’t happened. I planned to be home by a certain time tonight, I had a list of things to do and suddenly me and my housemates for next year get a call from the landlord of the most ideal student property for our second year. Of course we rushed at the opportunity, put an offer for the house and sorted out our finances surrounded it. That was the first thing.

Secondly and lastly actually, I realised I had something to prepare for one of my seminars tomorrow morning. I realised halfway through that I’ve missed the point completely and had to start all over again! I can be so clumsy sometimes but I’m also incredibly particular when it comes to being thorough and correct in my work.

This blog means a lot to me, and although few at the moment, I love my readers too. I can’t promise to always be on time or to have things completely together despite my constant and endless creations of list. This blog is my life, my real life, the good and the not so good. I will always update you on my Instagram but I will be always posting something on the days I’ve planned! I can’t promise to always have it together, plans sometimes change.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

1 Day of Love?

February 14th. The best days for some, the worst for others. Some hate it… too much, some love it… again, too much. For the whole of my teenage years I hovered somewhere in between. Regardless of whether I was talking to a guy during that time or not I never really saw it as a big deal but I definitely wasn’t the grinch of romance.

I love romance, I love romantic novels, romantic movies and hearing about other people’s romantic dates but Valentine’s day was never a reality for me. I feel like love should be displayed every single day to family and friends as well as towards significant others’. Aside from the historical significance, I never understood, and still don’t understand why one day of the whole entire year is centred around romance. At the same time, the idea of a day dedicated to flowers, teddy bears, chocolates and restaurant dates really does entice me.

For the first time in my life I had a “real” Valentine’s day experience with someone really special to me. It was the most amazing day, something I had never had before and I will never forget it. However, the day itself was merely an expression and an enhancement on what we already were building between us. It didn’t necessarily change how I felt about him – not that it was meant to. He was amazing before and he is amazing now. I feel like what you have with another person, be it a friend, family member or a romantic interest overrides everything that is external e.g. fancy dates and gifts.

It may be so much different for you, your outlook on the day may be so much different to mine. What I took from it is that the concept and the whole season of Valentine’s day is lovely – at face value. What I also learnt is it has nothing do with what you do, what you receive and where you go but has EVERYTHING to do with who you do it with and how you feel.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Take Time

Yesterday, I went back to my home town to visit my family. I havent’t seen them since Christmas time and had been missing them all so much. Despite having tons and tons of reading to do, having some events to squeeze in and having some jobs to run, I was determined to see my family this weekend.

I think it’s important to take time to do things that we genuinely want to do. Not because we have to, but because we want to. We get so caught up in doing the things on our list, sticking to our schedule and being productive that we forget to take time to be with the people who really matter.

As a university student, time isn’t always on my side. Whether it be completing endless reading lists, rushing between lectures or deciding which societies to go to, it’s so easy to forget where I really want to be. And that’s at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love uni, I love my course and all the wonderful friends I have made, but there really is no place like home.

Remember to take time out form your busy schedule to do the things that really matter this weekend!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Unmotivated?

Yeah me too. I’ve been sitting in bed for the past two hours following my lectures this morning. Granted, I was tired, and had some shows I wanted to catch up on also but in all honesty I feel extremely unmotivated.

It gets like that sometimes. Sometimes, like this morning, I wake up and want to just go back to sleep. If it wasn’t for my 10am lectures I may have. As soon as I got back to my accommodation, I collapsed into bed and haven’t left since. I could be reading, researching, exercising, changing the world. But no. I’m writing this very blog from between my insanely cosy bed sheets.

I’m sure you all experience days like this sometimes. It’s okay to not feel 110% motivated all the time. I know some people do (or pretend that they do), and they are inspirations, but my reality is that some days I don’t want to face the day to day happenings of life, people or productivity.

So long as the unmotivated and withdrawn mindset doesn’t become a habit, doesn’t override your dreams and aspirations or distract you from the things you need to do, it’s okay to sit and do nothing sometimes, healthy even.

I will get up, just give me 10 more minutes…

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Don’t be so hasty

This is a blog for me. And maybe you can relate.

The meaning of hasty in the English dictionary is ‘[something] done with excessive speed or urgency; hurried’. Are you being too hasty with the things in your life?

I know I certainly can be. We all like results, we all like the finished product, but when it comes to enduring the process, I am sure that many of you would rather not. Me included. Sometimes we can think something is for us – and maybe it is – but we jump too quickly at it and forget all about the right timing. The whole point I’m trying to make is that if you jump on every opportunity with extreme haste, you can end up being counter-productive and maybe even slightly destructive. So many good ideas, good intentions and even good relationships have been completely and utterly destroyed simply because of haste.

Not everything is a matter of urgency, not everything needs to be finished right here and right now. Let things unfold, learn more, trust that one day you will see the manifestation of the time and effort you put in and stop trying to rush the process. Sometimes a clear picture of growth and progression can be just as satistfying as the finished product.

And remember, not every opportunity that presents itself to you is for you. Not every battle is yours to fight. Not every available person is yours to pursue. And not every life is yours to live.

Stay calm, you will succeed in everything that has been set out for you to succeed in. You’re doing well!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A Few Words…

You are you.

No one will ever be you.

No one can ever replace you.

And THAT is your STRENGTH.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

My University Experience: Semester 1

Today I started semester 2 of university! I thought why not write about my experience during semester 1 on my blog today! So here we go…

Driving to university on the first day was nerve wracking, as expected. All of my things were jam packed in the back of my dad’s car and it was time to say goodbye to my sheltered London life and embark on new adventures elsewhere. Arriving in Guildford at the University of Surrey was… interesting. We arrived within the wrong time slot (my bad for not double checking) but it turned out alright in the end. I knew I was staying in some temporary accomodation on campus for the first four weeks while they finished building the new accomodation in the student village, but I had no clue what it looked like or what was going to happen. It turned out sharing 3 showers amongst 14 people wasn’t as bad as expected, but yet, I am so glad to now have an ensuite!

I feared Freshers’ Week more than actually starting my course – in fact I almost forgot that I came here to study because I was worrying so much! However, I had no reason at all to worry! I met some lovely people, tried new things and finally begun living life as a student away from home.

Lectures, seminars and pre-reading was a different story. I think it’s such a student-y thing to be so passionate about a subjuct but lack the drive and motivation to actually want to do the diffcult part! I study English Literature, so I am nearly as passionate about reading as I am about writing. I made quite a few friends on my course which has honestly made the whole experience 100 times more worth it – shoutout to them and I would totally recommend making some course mates!

I thought exams and coursework submissions would be so much different to what I was used to at GCSE and A-Level, but honestly, once you get your head around the websites/processes they use, it is pretty straight-forward. Exams, however, are still exams, and like at GCSE and A-Level, I was glad for exam season to be over!

The social side of university is, as many people say, what you make it. I live in a smaller town to what I am used to but there is still so much to see and do. Being so close to a lot my flatmates makes arranging days and nights out so much easier – I’ve been so blessed to be placed with people who I can call friends!

I am actually looking forward to Semester 2 and all the excitement and adventure that may come with it! University has been one of the best choices that I have made in my life and honestly wouldn’t want to change where I am right now.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Art of Pursuit

First things first, I am incredibly sorry for the extremely late post. I was meant to post yesterday but life took over – you know how it is.

What I want to talk about today is pursuit, the beauty of it, the art of it. Throughout my life I have pursued so many things. People, business ideas and new experiences. Some of them succeeded, some didn’t – but that’s because I gave up. The beauty of pursuit is that it never has to stop. There’s always more to learn, more to find, more to build.

Whether it’s a new business venture, a new career or a new friendship/relationship, the trick is to never stop pursuing, never stop striving and never stop growing.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Know Your Worth

In many aspects of our everyday life, we do not give ourselves enough credit for who we are; a lot of us do not know our worth or sometimes fail to recognise it. If we treat ourselves as if we are worth less than we are, we leave room for self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence which can lead us down some tricky paths.

You were created for a purpose, regardless of what others believe about why we as humans are here. You are not an accident and your life isn’t just happening for no particulat reason. You find your purpose within your worth, so to know your purpose, you have to first know your worth.

No matter how much your friends, family and loved ones tell you how much your worth, in the end you have to know it for yourself. I personally find my worth accoring to who God says I am. I am chosen, loved, cared for, free, wonderfully made, saved, rescued, ransomed and redeemed.

In what or whom do you find your worth?

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Girl, those red flags…

I know first hand that it is so easy to ignore such explicit red flags when it comes to guys and dating. Sometimes it’s easy to not see red flags, but 9/10 times, we see a red flag…. and then ignore it. This is down to a number of reasons. We might reallyyyyyy want a guy to chat to, we might really like him, we might think we can ‘change’ him or we may just being ignorant.

I have been all four of those, many times over and it’s left me in the same position every time. Although people may say otherwise, I don’t think it’s bad to set high and strict standards when it comes to dating. I personally have a physical list, full of personal requirements that I would want a potential romantic interest to have. Some have a mental list, some just go with the flow.

However, there is a list of questions to ask yourself to notice red flags as early as possible.:

Do you trust him?

Do you feel safe with him?

Does he respect you?

Can you tell him the truth?

Obviously there are many, many more things you should look for in a relationship, but a lot of them are relative to each person. Don’t compromis your standards for anyone, date smart.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Self-Image

Everyday many of us tend to maginify the parts of ourselves that we don’t like. We sometimes become so obsessed with the parts of ourselves that we don’t like and subsequently let these parts define us.

I think that we all need to develop a positive self-image. In an world that is so revolved around aesthetics it is almost ineviatble that we as a result let these pressures impact on how we see ourselves.

But what society thinks matters, doesn’t really matter. Look yourself in the mirror, write it down, it doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters is you remind yourself everyday that you are beautiful.

Love Always,

Shadz xo